In 1788, when Captain Phillip brought the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour he would have noticed the outcrops of sandstone at every turn. Rough and weathered, hewn by nature down to the waterline, covered in shrubs and trees unknown to him or his crews.
Within a few decades, masons would be smoothing these easily burnished rocks into our first houses and public buildings.
Today’s Sydney has many grand sandstone structures. Some of them are now repurposed from their original use. One of our favourites is the GPO which anchors the lower and more sombre end of Martin Place.
Yes, it was the new post office for a new young city. Now a hotel towers behind its solid and sturdily golden stone facade.
One ground floor corner now houses one of our favourite art galleries, which is currently hosting one of our favourite artists.
Emily Persson ‘Give Me Shade’ The Wentworth Galleries
Emily Persson has called her 29-piece exhibition at the Wentworth Galleries ‘Give Me Shade’.
Although it is the sunlight glittering on water that stays in mind, there is a wealth of shady refuges beneath the native eucalypts where you may shelter from the scorch of December sun.
Her technique involves quite bold use of the palette knife, but she still maintains a delicious delicacy, inviting you into a gentle untroubled world.
Emily lives in Melbourne, and the waters from around there, especially the Mornington Peninsula, are represented.
But it is the Harbour City that really sparkles. You can glimpse modern boats and houses on some shorelines, but much of Emily’s view could be as Phillip saw it. Rugged sandstone bluffs with canopies of gum trees above the blue water.
As she says in her notes: ”I invite you to experience the quiet beauty, serenity and respite that the Australian summer offers.”
Emily Persson ’Give Me Shade’ is at the Wentworth Galleries,
1 Martin Place, Sydney, from May 25 to June 4 2023.